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Retribution for a Crime Unsolved: An English/Shakespearean Sonnet

Crime Scene
Crime Scene | Source

A Sonnet by Any Other Name

I wrote this poem as an example of how to write an English/Shakespearean Sonnet. I am by no means an expert on sonnets having only written three, however, I have studied the guidelines and I think this meets them all.

Many sonnets seem to use love or heartbreak as a theme, but for some strange reason my sonnets seem to delve into the dark side of my psyche and all have crime or suspense as their theme. This one "Retribution for a Crime Unsolved" is no exception.

The Most Famous Sonnet Ever Written

Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare
Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare | Source

English Sonnet: Basic Rules

English Sonnets are a form of poetry that was created during the renaissance. English sonnets consist of 14 lines; three, four line stanzas accompanied by a two line closing stanza. The rhyming scheme for an English Sonnet is:

abab
cdcd
efef
gg

This means that the first and third lines of each four line stanza rhyme and the second and fourth lines of each four line stanza rhyme. The two lines of the closing stanza should rhyme as well.

Each line of the stanza should have no more and no less than ten syllables.

Retribution for a Crime Unsolved

Without a clue, I could not solve the crime,

I had to search for further evidence.

To find the killer I’d devote my time,

Cold murder is a capital offense.


But where to turn to find the clue I need?

Sometimes it is the place you least expect.

Amazed at what someone will do for greed,

For human life, they show no real respect.


And even though the victim is now gone,

I will not stop until I have my man,

Ensuring that the law is handed down.

In retribution the best way I can.


But finally I solved this murder case,

DNA found upon the victim's face.

Original Closing Stanza

The original two line closing stanza was:

"But sadly this murder remains unsolved,

A cold case now and filed as “UNRESOLVED.”

However, I felt this didn't effectively add closure to the case or perfectly reflect the poem's title. My good friend manatita confirmed those feelings and offered some helpful tips. Thanks for your help bro. I hope you like what I came up with from your suggestions.

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Comments 51 comments

manatita44 3 months ago

There is no questioning the power and beauty of the poem; the rhyming scheme is awesome too.

I read it twice and while it's great as it is, I would give the last two lines a different slant. A slight twist to add the retribution, perhaps, or a solving of the case. This will sort of 'wrap things up' for your wonderful sonnet. What do you think?


Jodah profile image

Jodah 3 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks manatita, I appreciate that feedback. That was my original intention...to solve the case or a retribution in the last two lines...but I failed to come up with it. I'll keep working on it and may change the ending if I can.


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 3 months ago from london

Great idea. Check your e-mail. You may find something to play with. Otherwise excellent effort indeed!!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 3 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Cheers bro, I did and appreciate your great help. Check out the closing stanza.


Ashish Dadgaa profile image

Ashish Dadgaa 3 months ago from India

Very nicely written Mr. Jodah.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 3 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for the kind comment, Ashish Dadgaa. Much appreciated.


Ashish Dadgaa profile image

Ashish Dadgaa 3 months ago from India

You are welcome Mr. Jodah. You are such a fine, writer. I got to learn some much from your Hubs :) .


billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

Well, John, you may not be an expert at sonnets, but you are light years better than I am. Well done!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 3 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you, Bill. I am doing my best to perfect them.


jo miller profile image

jo miller 3 months ago from Tennessee

Thanks for your sonnet and the lesson on how they are constructed. It must make you appreciate sonnets even more when you try writing them.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 3 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Yes, Jo. I never really appreciated the sonnet until I tried writing them myself. Thanks for reading this.


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 3 months ago from london

Yes, yes, I love it. Reflects your title well. Excellent Sonnet! Thanks for the mention. Have a great day!


always exploring profile image

always exploring 3 months ago from Southern Illinois

II like your crime sonnet. There's so many ways to write poetry. I've never tried this, although I love to do haiku, senryu and rictameter.


Diana Lee profile image

Diana Lee 3 months ago from Potter County, Pa.

Well done. I like that you included the basic rules to an English sonnet.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 3 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

@Ruby, you should really give writing a sonnet a try. It is an interesting exercise and not really that difficult.

@Diana, thank you for reading and commenting. Glad you enjoyed this.


Glenis Rix profile image

Glenis Rix 3 months ago from UK

Your sonnet ticks all the boxes for form. Certainly an unusual choice of subject - I have never before come across one that was't about love. Made me smile- though not sure if that was your intention:)


Jodah profile image

Jodah 3 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks, Glenis. Any reaction is fine..smile away. One day I'll have to write a love sonnet.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 months ago from Shelton

Jodah, I simply loved it.. awesome my friend :)


Jodah profile image

Jodah 3 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you, Frank. That means a lot coming from the "King of Crime."


John Ward 3 months ago

I liked both endings but much prefer the second choice. Both were Good. the Sonnet demonstrates your understanding. Very well done. god bless and continue to do so.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 3 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you, John. I appreciate your supportive comment.


John Ward 3 months ago

You deserve it. John


BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 3 months ago from Victoria, Australia

Really good and an unusual choice of topic. I've always thought of a sonnet as being romantic, so this was different.


teaches12345 3 months ago

What a clever case and written in the best of style.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 3 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks Blossom, I know romantic, hey? Each time I have attempted to write a sonnet (I have no idea why) my muse takes me towards the theme of crime. Maybe next time.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 3 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you, Dianna. Glad you enjoyed this.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 3 months ago from USA

I'm so impressed you're writing sonnets! And I especially like that your topic is not love, as is typical with sonnets. Nicely done.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 3 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for the encouragement, Flourish. Sonnets do offer a nice challenge because you have to obey certain rules, but they are also fun to write because of that, I think. I wanted to try something a little different to "love."


cam8510 profile image

cam8510 3 months ago from Columbus, Georgia until the end of November 2016.

I definitely like your crime slant with this sonnet. I enjoy a good love story, but I also enjoy breaking out of conventions. Well done, John.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 3 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you, Cam, I too try my best to be a little bit different from the conventional.


Missy Smith profile image

Missy Smith 3 months ago from Florida

Hey John,

I am so much like you; it is amazing. I, too, do not attempt sonnets often. I am not a fan of Shakespeare, although I have tried to read some of his poetry. I have watched Romeo and Juliet, but I will admit; I only really stood up at attention to the emotional and dramatic suicide scene. What can I say? It's the part I related to the most. lol.

I, however, do love your version of a sonnet. It grabs my attention and is very interesting. Don't get me wrong; love is great. Light and inspiration are wonderful, but I need a balance of both I think. If I constantly read about love and light, it seems as though I lose touch with reality. Not that I don't think it would be wonderful to live only in the place of positivity, but I strangely like to be sad. I feel we need tears to cleanse our soul and pain to keep us focused. Is that bad? lol.

As you know, I gravitate to the great poetry of Edgar Allan Poe and Sylvia Plath. I recently came across one of Edgar's that I love and when I read it aloud, I just felt exhilaration for his verses. It's the one entitled; Annabel Lee. It's about love. A dark love tale, but still about love. That counts right? ;)

I think this poem of yours is really good. I don't care to categorize a poem. I don't study too much on this. Sometimes, I try to give mine the correct version title. My last one I added the words "Carpe Diem" because I came across others who had wrote in a similar tone and stated it as "Carpe Diem Poetry." That fit for me. It may fit for a lot of my poetry, as I talk in a seize the day attitude. Yes, I am forward like that. lol.

Anyway, another hub from one of my favorites that I took pleasure in reading. Congratulations on making it here to Letterpile again. That speaks greatly of your talent my dear friend. ~Missy


Jodah profile image

Jodah 3 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for the wonderful comment, Missy. Yes, we seem to be on the same page with a lot of our thinking...long distance soul mates maybe :) I never liked Shakespeare either. Some of the more modern adaptions in movies of his work are ok though. I remember at school we had to read King Lear, Hamlet etc and then write a review. I used to cheat and read the first and last chapters of the book then borrow an already written review from the library and write mine using that rather than read the entire boring book.

Annabel Lee by Poe is a true classic and wonderful poem. Did you ever read my poem Midnight Rendezvous (the 32nd Psalm)? I based it's metre on Poe's "The Raven" after listening to a reading of that.

I wasn't expecting this to be selected for Letterpile, but was pleasantly surprised. Maybe HP staff felt guilty declining my Scrambled Egg hub for a move to Delishably.

Thank you again dear friend, for your support.


DDE profile image

DDE 3 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Hi Jodah nice of you to write a beautiful hub. You are good at writing and I have learned a lot here.


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 3 months ago from Riga, Latvia

A great big applause to you. Loved this who dunnit very much and you made it seem so easy to create an English sonnet.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 3 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Devika, Thank you for the kind comment and so glad you learnt something.

Rasma, I am glad you enjoyed this who dunnit. An English sonnet has a set structure and number of syllables etc but is really not that difficult.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 3 months ago from southern USA

Hi John,

Here you go again using your creative style in creating a crime sonnet! Very clever. I appreciate the explanation on what makes up a sonnet and its rhyming scheme.

I've been having intermittent Internet connection problems for the past couple of days ...so I am playing catch up. As soon as I think it is good to go, it goes down on me.

That is interesting your muse takes to you crime scenes with sonnets in lieu of romance ...hmm, maybe you can come up with a romantic "heat of passion" crime one : )

Blessings always


Jodah profile image

Jodah 3 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for reading this Faith, and for your interesting comment. I agree it is strange that my muse keeps directing me to crime sonnets. That is a good suggestion to try a "heat of passion" sonnet combining crime and romance. Hope your Internet connection is sorted out. Blessings.


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 3 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Bummer about these niche sites. You write a comment and it erases it if you have not signed in already - and it does not tell you it is a niche site before hand. There I vented.

Great read here. Great author. You shine my friend. It is nice of you to bring us with you. A whole crime book in just a few words - amazing.

I don't get the geometry of poetry but I know what I like, thank you.


Missy Smith profile image

Missy Smith 3 months ago from Florida

Hey Jodah, I recently tried to get one of my hubs picked up by soapboxie.com, but they turned it down. It's disappointing really. I think it was a good one to have there, but I guess they have their specific reasons. The bummer of it is, that you can only submit one article to the network sites within a 60-day period. I guess, I'll have to wait until they pick mine up or just stick with merely posting here on hubpages. lol.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 3 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

I agree with you about the niche sites, Eric. They catch me everytime. I go to comment and then have to sign in and do it again..annoying. Yes, the various forms of poetry do have a lot of mathematical rules. I usually just write what feels right to me and rarely attempt the traditional forms but now and again I take the challenge hence this sonnet. Glad you like what I write anyway. Cheers.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 3 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

I know how you feel Missy. I recently submitted my scrambled egg recipe hub to Delishably. They replied that it was an "outstanding" hub but the curator suggested so,e changes before it would be suitable for the move I.e. "Remove the poem". Well I couldn't do that, I felt it was what made my scrambled egg recipe hub unique. I compromised and moved the poem from the front of the hub to the end so readers would have a choice to read it or not, and resubmitted it. Got an email back saying it wasn't suitable..maybe there were too many similar recipes already and it wasn't unique enough..go figure. I thought..bummer...now I have to wait another 60 days...then surprisingly found out this was selected by them to move to LetterPile. I can't figure them out.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 months ago from Central Florida

Well done, John! I actually like both endings.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 3 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Shauna, much appreciated. Hope all is well with you.


AudreyHowitt 3 months ago

Well done John! I find sonnets to be a difficult form to work with--but you have done admirably with it--love your endings--both of them!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 3 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you, Audrey. Sonnets can be a challenge.I really value that comment. Much appreciated.


Deb Hirt 3 months ago

I think this is wonderful and manatita's suggestion was spot on.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 3 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Deb. Yes, you are right about manatita's suggestion. I do think it was the preferred ending.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 3 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Hi John - Interesting that you are expanding your field of writing efforts. Here again you build up the story as you move along (quickly) to the conclusion. Nicely done.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 3 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi, Mike. I am always trying to challenge myself with different forms of writing. It may result in me being OK at a lot of different genres, but an expert at none. At least I can say I tried. Thanks for the kind comment.


Shyron E Shenko 2 months ago

John, you did a great job of crafting this wonderful poem. I hope to read more from you like this.

Blessings my friend


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank yo for the encouraging comment, Shyron. I enjoy writing sonnets and I think you'll find there will be more of these.

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